Body as a response of a place. Postqualitative inquiry into outdoor education

Thesis event information

Date and time of the thesis defence

Place of the thesis defence

Wetteri auditorium IT115

Topic of the dissertation

Body as a response of a place. Postqualitative inquiry into outdoor education

Doctoral candidate

MA (Education) Anna Vladimirova

Faculty and unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Education and Psychology, Teachers, Teaching and Educational Communities

Subject of study



Senior Lecturer, Doctor Jamie McPhie, University of Cumbria


Docent Pauliina Rautio, University of Oulu

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Body as a response of a place. Postqualitative inquiry into outdoor education

In the age of over-consumption, extreme pollution, discrimination, climate disasters and extinctions, education remains a powerful custodian of learning for sustainable futures. Outdoor education is one of the orientations of environmental education that aims to bring young generations of people closer to nature and to a local place. For the very same reason, outdoor learning has been greatly romanticized and might be on a path of serving the ambitions of anthropocentrism.

The current study represents a postqualitative inquiry into outdoor education in the early childhood context in Finland with a focus on a conceptualisation of the human body and a place. It comprises three published articles. A synthesis of both empirical and theoretical work across all articles was enabled through thinking with theory, data and researcher’s own body.

In a summary of this research, I trace a journey of my inquiry, where I was first charmed by the outdoor learning, romanticizing its adventurous, liberating content and purpose. Drawing on different theories, I diffract philosophical concepts through the data from nature school, forest preschool and my daily routine, starting to question the anthropocentrism of outdoor education. Finally, I explore how the body is implicated in the alternative ethics of place through the theory of place-responsive pedagogy and the idea of ontogenesis. Based on this inquiry, I make a proposition, an offer to the field: What if outdoor education praxes treated a child not only as an individual in need of physical and cognitive development, but also as a living response of the place?

Overall, this study advocates for the multiplicity of approaches we can learn with the place, where place-responsive pedagogy is just one of the ways. The need for conceptual transformation (what we say and how we say it) is emphasized. This transformation might not only complement the praxes of mainstream outdoor education and smoothen the road of multiple species toward irrevocable climate change(s), but also, hopefully, establish new, still fragile, paths to flourishing multispecies futures.
Last updated: 23.1.2024